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Underground Storage Tank Rule-making


Overview

On August 8, 2012, the Department of Ecology (Ecology) amended Chapter 173-360 WAC, Underground Storage Tank Regulations, to implement new federal requirements.  Underground storage tanks (USTs) are regulated to prevent releases of petroleum and other hazardous substances.  The Legislature found that such releases pose a serious threat to human health and the environment, including the ground waters of the state.   

UPDATE – AUGUST 8, 2012 – RULE AMENDMENTS ADOPTED

On August 8, 2012, the Department of Ecology (Ecology) adopted changes to Chapter 173-360 WAC, Underground Storage Tank (UST) Regulations. The changes will be published in the Washington State Register on September 5, 2012, and become effective on October 1, 2012. 
 
To get copies of the adopted rule amendments and learn more about the changes, click here.


Scope of the rule making


The purpose of this rule making is to implement changes specified by the Legislature in Substitute Senate Bill 5475 (2007), which amended chapter 90.76 RCW. The changes are necessary to comply with the new federal requirements in the Underground Storage Tank Compliance Act of 2005 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 15801 et seq., Energy Policy Act of 2005, P.L. 109-58, Title XV, subtitle B). The rule amendments:

  • Authorize Ecology to stop regulated substances from being delivered to UST systems that do not comply with regulatory requirements.

  • Establish an operator training program for individuals who operate and maintain UST systems.  Current operators must be trained by December 31, 2012.

  • Require emergency response signage at all UST facilities.

  • Require secondary containment and interstitial monitoring of tanks and pipes installed or replaced after October 1, 2012.

  • Require containment under dispenser systems if the dispenser, dispenser system, or underground piping connected to the dispenser system is installed or replaced after October 1, 2012.

Reasons for the rule making


The rule amendments are necessary to:

  • Comply with the Legislature's directive in Substitute Senate Bill 5475 (2007) to adopt rules that are consistent with and no less stringent than the new federal requirements in the Underground Storage Tank Compliance Act of 2005.


  • Maintain federal funding for our state UST program. Such funding is contingent on state compliance with the requirements in the Underground Storage Tank Compliance Act of 2005.


  • Reduce the number, duration, and severity of releases of petroleum and other hazardous substances from regulated UST systems in this state, which pose a serious threat to human health and the environment, including drinking water.

Partial suspension of the rule making


Ecology evaluated the UST rule making in accordance with Governor Gregoire's November 17, 2010 Executive Order (10-06), extended on October 11, 2011 (11-03), to suspend non-critical rule making. Based on that evaluation, Ecology decided to continue with some parts of the rule making while suspending other parts.

  • What parts of the rule making continued?


    Ecology continued rule making to address topics necessary to comply with the federal requirements in the Underground Storage Tank Compliance Act of 2005 (the Act). Those topics are identified above.  This part of the rule making met exemption criteria 3(a) under Executive Order 11-03 (required by federal or state law or required to maintain federally delegated or authorized programs). 


  • What parts of the rule making have been suspended?


    Ecology originally planned to address other topics in the rule making in response to proposed changes to the federal UST rule, discussed below.  When we began the rule-making process, we expected that EPA would complete its revisions to the federal UST rule well before we needed to file our rule proposal to meet deadlines under the Act.  However, that did not happen.  Consequently, Ecology decided to suspend rule making on the following topics because they no longer met the exemption criteria under Executive Order 11-03:

    1. Topics being addressed in the federal rule making that are not required under the Act.

    2. Financial responsibility, which was considered by EPA, but is not currently being addressed in the federal rule making.  

For more information about the rule making suspension, visit: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/laws-rules/rulemaking_suspension.html

Federal rule-making information


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently in the process of amending the federal UST rule (40 CFR Part 280). The focus of the amendments is on proper operation and maintenance of UST system equipment. EPA expects these revisions will help improve the prevention and detection of releases from UST systems, which are one of the leading sources of ground water contamination.
 
EPA is also proposing to update the state program approval (SPA) requirements in 40 CFR Part 281 to incorporate the proposed changes to the federal UST rule identified above. Under the proposal, states will have three years after the adoption of the federal rule amendments to update their own rules to comply with the minimum requirements in the updated federal rule.
 
On November 18, 2012, EPA submitted its proposed rule amendments for public comment. EPA subsequently extended the public comment period until April 16, 2012.  EPA does not expect to complete the rule making before May 2013.

For more information about the federal rule making, see www.epa.gov/oust/fedlaws/proposedregs.html

Sign up for Email Announcements


The ECOLOGY-UST-RULE e-mail list has been established to provide updates on the UST rule making. If you would like to receive e-mail updates about the rule making and related information, please sign up. If you have already subscribed, you will continue to receive announcements. You can always unsubscribe.
 
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UST Program Info

For more info about the UST Program, click here.


Contact Info

UST Coordinator
360-407-7382


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Federal Laws

Statute
2005 Amendments
Current Rules


State Laws

Statute
2007 Amendments
Current Rules


Ecology Rule Page

UST Rule Making